DETROIT, MI - OCTOBER 12: Matt Harrison #54 of the Texas Rangers throws a pitch against the Detroit Tigers in the first inning of Game Four of the American League Championship Series at Comerica Park on October 12, 2011 in Detroit, Michigan. (Photo by Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images)
When the Texas Rangers signed Japanese import Yu Darvish, the writing was on the wall for Alexi Ogando to return to the bullpen, where he excelled in 2010 and in the 2011 postseason.
Ogando hit a wall in midseason while working far above his previous high for innings workload, and while this year would probably be different if he were stretched out from the beginning, we all know he can be a key part of the team's bullpen.
Matt Harrison, on the other hand, had a quietly fantastic year for the Rangers in the starting rotation when he had a career-year by a long shot at the young age of 26.
Harrison pitched 185 2/3 innings, while staying in the rotation for the entire season. He compiled a 14-9 record with a 3.39 ERA. He was a groundball and double play machine with just 57 walks the rest of the league was able to manage just a .257 clip against him.
That's quite promising for a young lefty who increased his velocity by 3-4 mph last season after an offseason spent reading a lot of sports psychology books and really working on improving his stuff.
But now the Rangers are looking at bringing in another starter as veteran righty Roy Oswalt is on the free agent market and has said he would want to play for either the Rangers or St. Louis Cardinals. He's scheduled to meet with the Rangers today and has a history of working with Mike Maddux and Nolan Ryan during Ryan's time in the Astros organization.
Oswalt has had a great career, no doubt about it, but in his mid-30s, Oswalt has become an injury-prone starter. He spent two separate stints on the disabled list last season with Philadelphia due to back issues and finished the season with a 9-10 record and a 3.69 ERA. So not bad at all, but not as good as Harrison.
True, Oswalt is a more proven starter than Harrison but you have to give a 26-year-old who had a breakout season some benefit of the doubt. Moving Harrison back to the bullpen would be a blow to his confidence even though he says it won't bother him, although he obviously prefers to start.
Who would you rather see in the Rangers' rotation?